Christian Activism in 1950s Chaoshan and Wenzhou

  • Christie Chui-Shan Chow
  • Joseph Tse-Hei Lee


Chow and Lee draw on archival materials and ethnographic findings to evaluate interactions between the officials and Christians in the coastal regions of Chaoshan (Guangdong Province) and Wenzhou (Zhejiang Province) throughout the Maoist era (1949–76). The Chaozhou-speaking Catholics, Baptists, and Presbyterians succeeded in transcending sectarian boundaries and helped each other to cope with religious persecution. The Seventh-day Adventists in Wenzhou did likewise by organizing clandestine house gatherings with other Protestants. They held onto their faith, continued their worship activities on Saturday, and maintained a distinct—though not independent—identity under the broad spectrum of Protestantism. This comparative analysis shows that doctrinal commitments that were inherited by local Christians from their missionary mentors continued to serve as valuable resources for faith consolidation and even civic resistance against the socialist state. These Chaoshan and Wenzhou Christians not only survived the religious persecution of the Maoist regime by developing into a localized network of clandestine cells but also resurfaced as a fully indigenized spiritual movement in the Reform period.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christie Chui-Shan Chow
    • 1
  • Joseph Tse-Hei Lee
    • 2
  1. 1.City Seminary of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Pace UniversityNew YorkUSA

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